Optimising web-based computer-tailored physical activity interventions for prostate cancer survivors: A randomised controlled trial examining the impact of website architecture on user engagement

Amy Finlay, Holly Evans, Andrew Vincent, Gary Wittert, Corneel Vandelanotte, Camille E. Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Web-based computer-tailored interventions can assist prostate cancer survivors to become more physically active by providing personally relevant behaviour change support. This study aimed to explore how changing the website architecture (free choice vs. tunnelled) impacted engagement within a physical activity computer-tailored intervention targeting prostate cancer survivors. Methods: On a 2:2:1 ratio, 71 Australian prostate cancer survivors with local or locally advanced disease (mean age: 66.6 years ± 9.66) were randomised into either a free-choice (N = 27), tunnelled (N = 27) or minimal intervention control arm (N =17). The primary outcome was differences in usage of the physical activity self-monitoring and feedback modules between the two intervention arms. Differences in usage of other website components between the two intervention groups were explored as secondary outcomes. Further, secondary outcomes involving comparisons between all study groups (including the control) included usability, personal relevance, and behaviour change. Results: The average number of physical activity self-monitoring and feedback modules accessed was higher in the tunnelled arm (M 2.6 SD 1.3) compared to the free-choice arm (M 1.5 SD 1.4), p = 0.01. However, free-choice participants were significantly more likely to have engaged with the social support (p = 0.008) and habit formation (p = 0.003) ‘once-off’ modules compared to the standard tunnelled arm. There were no other between-group differences found for any other study outcomes. Conclusion: This study indicated that website architecture influences behavioural engagement. Further research is needed to examine the impact of differential usage on mechanisms of action and behaviour change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7920
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Behaviour change
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Computer tailoring
  • E-health
  • Physical activity
  • User engagement
  • Website architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this